Saying sayonara to winter means it’s time to check our homes for wear and tear and prepare them for the warm weather ahead.

Longer, milder days make spring an excellent time to tackle some basic home maintenance and projects. By taking the time to do a bit of seasonal inspecting and work, you can keep your home in good condition and ultimately save yourself from having to do major repairs in the future.

Breeze your home into spring with our home maintenance checklist below:

1. Check the roof of your home for loose or damaged shingles

Winter storms and freezing temperatures can take a toll on the roof of your home. A simple visual inspection of your roof can reveal damage or loose shingles due to heavy snow build up and ice. If you note areas or shingles that need closer inspection or repair, call a professional.

2. Clean gutters and downspouts

It’s important to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and repaired every year. The pair when functioning properly work to divert water from your home so it doesn’t collect around your foundation. Maintenance in the early season can also help prevent damage from spring rains. When neglected, clogged gutters and downspouts can cause wood trim and eaves to rot and invite unwanted critters into your home.

3. Have an HVAC professional inspect your AC system

HVAC manufacturers recommend having your air conditioning unit inspected at least once per year. Regular inspections ensure that your HVAC system operates smoothly and that it operates at its most efficient level. It also will prolong the life of the system.

4. Verify sump pump is operating properly

Living in New England means subjecting your home to heavy rain and excessive snow. Roughly 60% of homes have some type of moisture in their basements and crawl spaces. Sump pumps eliminate moisture and also prevent flooding. You’ll want to check that your sump pump is expelling this moisture properly and away from the foundation of your home.

Check siding for deterioration and missing/loose pieces

Sleet, freezing rain, strong winds, icicles and ice dams are all aspects of winter that can result in damage to the siding of a house. When inspecting for damage on the exterior of your home, check for broken siding, warped boards, loose panels, leaky seals, and dents or holes.

Deep clean siding, decks, and patios

Pressure washing the exterior of your home is a great way to clean off all of the dirt and grime that has built up over the winter months and can help restore your siding to its original condition. The proper cleaning and maintenance of your decks and patios can also protect these structures from rot and can preserve their appearance for years to come.

7. Inspect windows and doors for gaps and cracks

Look for any gaps or cracks around your windows and doorframes. Leaking in those areas can cause moisture to travel within your walls and cause rot in the frame of your home.

Trim/remove dead trees and shrubs

Start trimming and pruning in the early season while trees and plants are still inactive. This protects and encourages healthy spring growth.

Test smoke alarms and CO detectors

Testing the detectors in your home should be done each month and building this responsibility into your spring maintenance routine can ensure that it’s not overlooked. In addition to testing them, the batteries in smoke alarms and CO detectors should be changed every six months to ensure they continue to operate. We recommend changing them in the spring/fall.

Check fire extinguishers and replace if necessary

Like the smoke alarms and CO detectors in your home, it’s best to check your fire extinguishers every month. When inspecting your extinguishers, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Ensure you have easy access in order to respond quickly in the case of an emergency
  2. Gauge the pressure and make sure the pressure needle is pointing to the green area
  3. Confirm the hose and pin are in place
  4. Look for physical damage
  5. Replace if necessary




Winter brings an idyllic promise of cozy nights with a muted world of snowfall just outside your door but it also brings an increased risk of fire inside of your home.

As a homeowner, the threat of a house fire can cause a great deal of stress and worry. So as we head into the heart of winter, knowing the risks and what you can do to protect your home is not only good home-owning practice but lets be straight, it’s just plain smart and self-preserving.

Half of all home fires occur in the months December, January, and February. Of those fires, an estimated 1 in 7 involves heating equipment. Ensuring proper and safe use of appliances and equipment is one of the first steps to avoiding a fire.

Below we will explore where home fires are most likely to occur, how they are started, and what you can do to stay fire smart.



Unsurprisingly the kitchen is, throughout the year, the #1 place a fire is likely to start with a staggering 50% of home fires beginning there.

Often the heart of a home, the kitchen is where we gather and prepare meals using a variety of gas and electrical appliances. In the flurry of activity you might find that you forget to turn an off an appliance or leave the area unattended. Unfortunately a house fire won’t reason that you had to step away for X,Y, or Z. The best practice to always have someone attending the kitchen while anything is being cooked.

In the winter months with dropping temperatures some homeowners even use their ovens as a heating source for their homes. (Insert screaming emoji).

You guys, ovens were not designed for this purpose. Their intent is to be used for short periods of time. They do not vent out air or fumes like a boiler or a furnace in your home does.

In addition to fire danger, gas ovens pose an even bigger risk because of carbon monoxide which is a byproduct of combustion. Using a gas oven to heat your home can not only start a fire but it can also increase the amount of CO in the house to unhealthy levels.

Lastly, ovens don’t circulate heat so technically they aren’t even efficient for the purpose of heating your home. So if you’re using your oven to heat your house, stop doing it.


Bedrooms are our own personal safe spaces from the world. We close drapes over the windows, light a candle, and drift off to dreamland. At any time during the year, bedrooms are where about 15% of electrical fires begin.

During the winter months, this risk increases due to additional comforts such as electric heating blankets and space heaters. If you didn’t know, space heaters are a leading cause of heating equipment home fires and are responsible for 4 out of 5 home fire deaths (YIKES).

You can establish good fire safety habits in your bedroom by:

  1. Turning off electric heating blankets when they’re not in use.
  2. Turning off space heaters before leaving a room or going to bed.
  3. Extinguishing and covering candles before falling asleep.
  4. Making sure that there aren’t curtains, bedding, or flammable materials touching heating sources.


In New England, a fireplace is often the aesthetic and functional centerpiece of a living room. It gives us ideas of cozy nights and a place to hang our stockings during the holidays. Fireplaces and wood burning stoves also require more maintenance than just cute décor and the occasional dusting.

With heating equipment being the second leading cause of house fires, chimneys are the most likely type of heat source to cause a fire. Lack of regular cleanings can lead to a creosote (black, tar like substance) build-up which increases the risk of a chimney fire and even exposure to toxic fumes in your home (EEK).

Additionally, leaving a lit fireplace unattended also puts your home at risk of a fire as well as leaving flammable items within its vicinity.


At this point you might be giving that aromatherapy candle on your desk the evil eye or considering retiring your space heater, but rest assured house fires are easily preventable when the right precautions are taken and learning the risks is the first step.

So how can you prevent fires in your home this winter?

We recommend starting to check off your preventative measure boxes prior to the start of the season and throughout the season test your detectors, be diligent about proper heat equipment usage and maintenance, and make sure everyone in your home is knowledgeable of any fire escape plans.

Below we’ve curated a fire inspection checklist along with some additional tips to help keep you and your home safe from fire.

  • Install smoke detectors on every level and in every bedroom in your home.
  • Install CO detectors within 15 ft. of bedrooms and on every level of your home.
  • Test all detectors once per month and change the batteries every six months.
  • Store a fire extinguisher on every level of your home and replace old extinguishers.
  • Have your chimneys, fireplaces, and central furnaces professionally inspected and serviced once a year.
  • Check that electrical outlets are designed with the correct circuitry for heavy-duty appliances such space heaters.
  • Keep anything flammable at least 3 ft. away from heat sources such as fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, ovens, etc.
  • Ensure all portable gas and oil heaters have proper ventilation.
  • Create a fire escape plan.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Smoke detectors are best placed on ceilings and also acceptable high on a vertical wall.
  • Don’t leave lit candles unattended.
  • Place a fireplace screen in front of fireplaces to keep embers from escaping.
  • Store ashes in a metal container away from your home.
  • Always stay in the kitchen if you’re actively cooking.
  • Clear lint from your dryer after or before each use.
  • If a fire extinguisher is needed, remember P.A.S.S. – Pull the pin with the nozzle facing away from you, Aim low towards the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever, Sweep the nozzle back and forth.

If you are concerned about any areas in your home, contact a professional for advice and service. Additionally, most local fire departments offer fire safety training, tips, and education.